INT. HOLLY’S APARTMENT. NIGHT.
Holly twisted her hair into a half bun and slid a hair stick into it. She slipped on a pair of black high heels and finished with a small spray of perfume.
She left the bathroom and headed across to the kitchen area where Amy was bent intently over a cake carefully guiding a pastry bag across the top.
“How’s it coming?” asked Holly, leaning across the counter to watch her friend’s progress.
“Better. The class is really helping.” Amy glanced up from her work and then pulled away from the cake. “Holly you look gorgeous.”
Holly grinned and stepped back from the counter to show the full effect. “You think so? It ought to be gorgeous since I spent most of my paycheck renting the dress.”
“Wow, I didn’t realize it was going to be such a spiffy event.”
“Evelyn said to wear an evening gown.”
“Where is it?”
“They’ve rented out some fancy club for the evening.”
“And Peter’s coming to pick you up?”
“Yes he is.”
“Is he driving?”
“No, we’re taking a cab.”
“Is this a date for you two?” asked Amy returning to her work on the cake.
Holly laughed and shook her head emphatically. “No. Not at all. We’re just friends. It’s nice to have someone to talk you who’s in the same business that’s all.”
“What about Evelyn?’
“I like Evelyn a lot. But Peter’s just a little less,” she hesitated as she sought the right word. “Overwhelming? And definitely less intimidating.”
The apartment buzzer rang out.
“That’ll be Peter now,” said Holly grabbing her purse off the coffee table. “I said I’d meet him downstairs.”
“Have a fun time!” Amy called.
“See you when I get back!” Holly waved as the elevator doors slid shut.
EXT. STREET. NIGHT.
Peter was waiting downstairs, leaning against the taxi, as Holly stepped out of the apartment onto the sidewalk. He straightened as he saw her walking towards him.
“You know I don’t think I’ve ever had a man in a tuxedo waiting for me before. I feel very glamorous,” she said.
“You look glamorous.” He smiled at her. “And very beautiful.”
She felt herself smile back involuntarily and slid into the cab as Peter held open the door.
The club was downtown and it was a rather long drive from Holly’s apartment. It was a pleasant one however and Holly was glad she had Peter to talk to. If she had been alone she knew she would have spent the thirty minute drive growing steadily more anxious. But with him to distract her it was a pleasant half an hour and it wasn’t until they neared the club that she began to notice the butterflies in her stomach.
The club’s outside was decorated with tan wood paneling with gold embellishment. There was a short, roped off area between the curb and the entrance where a woman with a clipboard was standing, receiving the invitations and checking off names, and on the other side of the left-hand ropes was a small group of photographers.
Holly glanced towards Peter and noticed he looked as uneasy as she felt. Somehow the knowledge someone else was just as nervous gave Holly renewed courage. She pulled her invitation out of her purse as well as money for the driver. She had half expected Peter to try and insist on paying but he seemed too pre-occupied to notice and she was glad. She’d asked him to come with her as a favor; she couldn’t have him pay for the taxi too.
The cab pulled to a halt outside the club and Holly reached over the driver’s partition to pay and then taking a deep breath, mentally preparing herself for the party inside, she opened the door and stepped out onto the sidewalk.
There was someone else getting out of a car directly behind her cab. Whoever it was seemed to excite the photographers. The cameras started clicking rapidly and she heard a couple of shouts. A woman passed Holly and paused in front of the photographers, posing for a few pictures.
It seemed to Holly that Peter took a fraction too long to come out of the taxi, but he gave her a smile and placing a hand under her elbow seemed to propel her quickly towards the entrance.
It was only a few feet between the curb and the door but just as Holly handed her invitation to the woman with the clipboard something strange seemed to happen. Holly could have sworn she felt a couple of flashes going off in her own direction. And as the woman made a check on her board and gestured for the two to enter, she thought she heard someone shout out a question. She couldn’t make the question out but her brain seemed to register the name ‘Peter’ somewhere in there.
Peter’s hand was still on her elbow however and as the woman gestured he again moved quickly, guiding Holly inside.
It had all happened in the space of a few seconds and she couldn’t be sure she was right and a moment later it was out of her head as she surveyed the room in front of her.
It was a very fancy club; a marble floor, a large chandelier, long comfortable cushioned seats scattered throughout, tall tables to stand at as well as low coffee tables. There were waiters moving around the room with trays and as Holly took in the guests she saw diamond necklaces, expensive silk dresses and tuxedoes.
“Wow…” she murmured. “Evelyn was right. Fancy.”
“Yes.” Peter nodded, but his voice sounded a bit strained.
Holly glanced up at him. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” he gave her a reassuring smile and then his smile broadened. “You look excited.”
“This is the fanciest party I’ve ever been too.”
“Well then let’s make sure you enjoy it.”
They moved into the room, but Holly kept them close to the edge of the crowd as they walked. They reached a tall table without anyone around it and Holly put down her purse on it, taking a handful of nuts to eat from the bowl in the center.
“I think I’m going to wade in and try and get us some drinks,” she said, “Why don’t you wait here and keep the table for us.”
“Alright,” he agreed.
She walked off, leaving Peter standing alone. Absently he picked up a few nuts and dropped them on top of the table, playing with them, moving them around into different shapes and balancing them on top of each other.
“Peter! What are you doing here?”
He jumped as he heard his name.
“Matt?” Peter glanced up in surprise as his agent approached the table. “Why are you here?”
“I represent one of the actresses in the film. Now how about you?”
“I’m here with a friend.”
“I didn’t know you had friends,” Matt said surprised. There was a heavy silence. “I mean,” Matt corrected himself awkwardly, clearing his throat, “I didn’t know you had friends associated with this film.”
“Right, that’s what you meant,” said Peter dryly, “Actually I don’t. My friend,” he stressed the second word pointedly, “Works with Alan on a TV show, that’s how they got the invitation.”
“I see. Well it’s…it’s good to see you out. I’m a little surprised where you chose to start, but I’m glad.” He looked a little doubtful and then asked tentatively. “You do now Henry directed the movie don’t you?”
“I guess you didn’t.”
“Peter,” Holly emerged from the crowd, “I forgot to ask you-, oh.” She stopped as she caught sight of Matt.
Matt smiled at her and then turned expectantly to Peter. The latter hesitated a moment and then reluctantly began the introductions.
“Holly, this is my agent Matt. Matt this is a friend of mine, Holly Woods.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Holly held out her hand. “Peter told me a lot about you.”
Matt shook her hand, glancing slightly at his friend. “It’s good to meet you too Ms. Woods.”
“Peter,” Holly turned to him, “I realized I didn’t ask you what you’d want to drink. There seems to be pretty much everything including champagne and mulled wine, which seems to smell really good, just so you know.”
Peter chuckled. “I’ll try the latter.”
“Okay. I’ll be back.” She nodded at Matt and walked off again.
“And now I understand what you’re doing here,” said Matt as she disappeared.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Peter gruffly.
“Sure you don’t…” Matt sighed. “Look it’s good. I’m happy you’re dating again. It’s fantastic and she seemed nice, in those two minutes she was here.” He laughed. “Seriously Peter. You don’t have to look so nervous. This is good. I might have chosen a different venue for the date but-”
“It’s not a date,” Peter corrected.
“Come on. You wouldn’t be out here if it wasn’t.”
“She asked me to come as a favor so she’d have a friend with her. This is her first big Hollywood event.”
Matt frowned a little. “Not entirely considerate of her, I’d think she’d realize how difficult a party like this could be for you.”
“No, she wouldn’t.”
“How could she not? A good third of these people are ex-friends. If she knows anything about you-”
“Which she doesn’t,” cut in Peter abruptly. He looked miserable as he said it. “She doesn’t know.”
“What?” Matt blinked. “You mean…but how she could not know?”
Peter leaned heavily against the table and shook his head. “She just doesn’t. She’s new to this; she never followed celebrities or read tabloids.”
“It wasn’t just in the tabloids.”
“I know that Matt, but she was fifteen at the time. If she heard about it, it didn’t make much of an impression.”
“Fifteen? That would make her twenty now?”
“Yes. I know there’s an age difference of twelve years,” Peter snapped. “I can do the math. But twelve isn’t much. Not in Hollywood. There are much bigger age gaps out there.”
“It may not be a date but you like her,” said Matt slowly, “You like her a lot or you wouldn’t be doing the math on the ages.”
Peter sighed and nodded. “I do. I really do Matt. And I don’t understand it. I never…it wasn’t just that I thought I wouldn’t feel like this again, I just plain didn’t want too. And then I just randomly meet Holly in an alley and I can’t stop thinking about her. When I’m with her I feel happy. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve actually felt really, genuinely happy?”
“An alley?” Matt asked, raising an eyebrow.
“There’s a story.” Peter shrugged.
A long paused followed and then quietly Matt commented, “You have to tell her.”
Peter nodded. “I know. But it feels so…pleasant to be with someone who doesn’t know about it.” He sighed again. “And how do I even start to tell her?”
“Sit her down in front of your Wikipedia page?”
Peter snorted and then turned serious again. “But we’re not dating. I told you the truth. She just asked me as a friend.”
“Maybe she asked you as a friend because she’s interested in you?” pointed out Matt.
“It’s just complicated. How do you even know at what point you tell someone something like this? I mean if you tell them too soon you scare them off.”
“And if you tell them too late you’re lying to them,” pointed out Matt.
Peter held Matt’s gaze for a moment and then nodded. “I know.”
Holly reappeared as he said this, holding two glasses and placed them on the table.
“Well,” said Matt, “I think I’d better go mingle. It was very good to meet you Holly.”